Some WSU faculty critical of provost's salary
Former Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch may face some resentment when he returns to work as one of the best-paid history professors in the country.
PULLMAN — Former Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch may face some resentment when he returns to work as one of the best-paid history professors in the country.
Some members and former members of the school's department of history are upset that Hoch will be paid $245,000 per year, far more than the market rate for such faculty, the Lewiston Tribune reported Tuesday.
The school is contractually obligated to pay nine-elevenths of the $300,000 administrative salary Hoch lost last week when President Elson Floyd relieved him of his duties as provost. He was guaranteed a tenured-faculty position when he was hired earlier this year.
"I would not envy him in terms of what I think would be resentment on the part of many of the faculty," said retired WSU history professor LeRoy Ashby. "If one thinks in terms of equity in the department, I would be hard-pressed to make the case for him making anything near that amount."
"At no point in my career did I approach even half of that (salary)," said Ashby, who taught 36 years.
Hoch came to WSU from the University of Kentucky, where he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
An expert in Russian history, Hoch was granted paid personal leave on Sept. 23 after just seven weeks on the job. He will officially step down as provost on Oct. 31 and join the history faculty.
The university has not released any information on why the change occurred, although sources have told The Seattle Times it amounted to a power struggle. The provost is the academic head of the school.
Richard Hume, who has taught history in Pullman since 1968, said it will be hard for Hoch to prove he is worth the money.
"He has a big salary; does he have big responsibilities?" Hume asked. He also wondered what Hoch's salary would do to the history department's need to fill three vacant positions.
"We don't have that much money," Hume said. "We're lucky if we can buy our paper and pencils."
WSU has instituted a hiring freeze in the face of an expected tight budget year.
Another history professor, Jerry Gough, said he didn't know where Hoch's expertise would fit in the department's curricula.
"Russian history is not as popular as it once was," Gough said.
Information from Seattle Times staff is included in this report.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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